On September 20, 42 years ago, Vietnam became an official member of the United Nations. Vietnam has gone from being a recipient of donations to an active contributor with a stronger voice in the global forum
The 64th session of the UN General Assembly in New York from September 23-26, 2009 (Photo: Nguyen Khang/VNA)
In the early days, Vietnam received strong support from the UN to overcome the aftermaths of war and embargoes. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, assistance from the UN and other socialist countries accounted for 60% of all foreign aid for Vietnam.
During the national renewal initiated in 1986 to pursue industrialization and modernization, the UN gave Vietnam hundreds of millions of USD each year along with policy consultancy, technical support, and support for multilateral and bilateral joint projects. That support was instrumental in fulfilling national socio-economic targets.
Now Vietnam has begun to give back by actively contributing to UN activities. Former Vietnamese Ambassador to the UN Ngo Quang Xuan recalled “During the 50th, 51st, and 52nd General Assembly, we accelerated our activities and sought opportunities to take part in top UN positions. At the 52nd General Assembly session in 1997, the country became a member of the UN Economic and Social Council and Vice President of the Assembly, marking a milestone in Vietnamese diplomacy. Vietnam was also elected to the leadership of other international organizations. So Vietnam’s stature has begun to grow.”
Vietnam-UN cooperation has reaped many successes. The nation achieved its millennium goals ahead of the 2015 deadline, was a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from 2008 to 2009, and will take on this role again over the next 2 years. It was a member of the UN Human Rights Council from 2014 to 2016, made significant contributions to the One UN Initiative, and has participated in UN peacekeeping forces in Central Africa and South Sudan.
The international community has praised Vietnam’s responsible contributions to improving UN operations and preventing conflicts all over the world.
Kamal Malhotra, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam, said: “I think Vietnam can be proud of having been in the forefront of UN reform on the ground through the One UN Initiative. This started in 2006 globally. There were 8 pilot countries and Vietnam was one of them. It has been really at the forefront of those eight and I hope that this will continue to be so. I’m certainly keeping or taking further the momentum on that.”
“That’s the important contribution that Vietnam and its leadership has made to the UN because it’s been able to demonstrate the strong government leadership and hornorship in some of the most difficult and troubled part of the world. And I think for a country to be able to do that now given the situation for 35 years when Vietnam was in conflict. It’s symbolically and substantially wonderful for a country to give back to the international system,” said Mr. Malhotra.
Vietnam’s foreign policy seeks to actively participate in and play a stronger role in multilateral mechanisms, especially ASEAN and the UN. Taking on the role of non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Vietnam will stand side by side with other UN members to promote fair, equal, and friendly international relations and protect the legitimate interests of all countries.